I don’t normally enjoy the Cycling Liaison Group, and tonight was no exception.
We had eight agenda items and at the end was the one everyone wanted to talk about. After the minutes, we went to the:
Borough cycling strategy
Now the eagle-eyed (or just the terminally bored) will have noticed that the council’s “Local Implementation Plan 2” includes a cycling strategy already, and it’s apparently already been signed off. (See the end of the document for the cycle strategy: it includes a focus on “… seeking enforcement of Road Traffic laws for the benefit of all highway users” – it’s anyone’s guess why this might appear in the cycling section, and not in the Local Implementation main body.)
But this is a new cycling strategy. A couple of CLG meetings ago, there was an open discussion about strategy which apparently supported this new strategy, and we need a new strategy because:
- The old one is too long
- The council has changed since it was written
- The government has changed
- There are new requirements around health
- Other stuff
Unfortunately, it’s not a big priority for the council because there was nothing to show us, no indication of when there would be something to show us, and no schedule for when the council hoped to have a new cycle strategy ready.
Apparently this is part of the usual round of policy renewal, and it’s how things work. Yet the last plan was signed off by the present cabinet member for highways and street scene (page 3 2.8Mb PDF). The council official responsible for putting this together seems to have spent most of the last six months or so focussing more on work to support the Olympics – understandable in a department which has apparently lost 40% of its staff, so you’d be advised not to hold your breath for a new strategy.
After all this good, useful news, it was time for:
This is Boris’ big London legacy plan. Of itself it sounds a good way to generally promote cycling, and have cycling as a bigger feature in London, but it was most interesting for the implicit acceptance that people don’t want to ride with cars and HGVs: the proposal around the ‘freecycle’ section centred entirely on ‘family-friendly closed roads’. Still, the people who make it to the closed roads events will know what’s going on, because there won’t be closed roads for the feeder rides there. (Freecycle details here.)
Next, we did:
It’s enough to say here that we had a five minute discussion just to agree that the minutes would record that we asked for the costs for installing cycle counters. When something as simple as this turns out to be hard work, you know things aren’t going to get better.
So on to:
Teddington Lock Footbridge
(No. 7, here.) I thought it was anyone’s guess why this was before us. They seem to have a fairly simple plan for a fairly simple job – install nicer lighting and a better surface on the footbridge.
And then we looked at some odd numbers: the bridge was said to have 120-160 cyclists per hour, and 3-500 pedestrians per hour using it. Because although it seems the footbridge is busy, I can’t imagine that it really has at least two cyclists a minute, 24 hours a day.
Anyway, the interesting thing about these numbers is that this is how many people will be inconvenienced when they close it for 2-3 weeks to do the work. We’d gone from an item which has looked like a bit of filler to one with a pretty key question: what are all these people going to do for this extended period of work?
Later, the final item on the agenda – the one everyone actually turned up for – why the council is planning to remove cycling provision in the Twickenham redevelopment.